Whether you’ve got friends or family coming over for a celebration, or a small gathering for a barbecue in your backyard, nothing makes things better than a good appetizer. And while you might think this adds complications to your preparations, most of them are pretty easy to make and only take a short time to prepare. Think buffalo chicken dippers, or something else that goes well with barbecue – you get the point.
So, without much further ado, let’s take a look at a few easy appetizers that you can make pretty quickly, and your guests will love. We’ll include a bit of variety, so there’s something for everyone. Let’s go.
Grilled Halloumi Cheese
If you only have around 10 to 15 minutes to work with, this recipe is just perfect for you. It’s low calorie, it has zero carbs, and it works perfectly with any kind of barbecue. You can make slices, or you can use it in vegetable and cheese skewers.
The cheese itself is made from sheep’s milk, and it’s originally from Cyprus, a Greek island. There’s no rennet, which is a regular ingredient in cheese, which should be good news for vegetarians who avoid it. If you’re in the US or Canada, you’ll find this cheese labeled “halloumi-style”, or just “grillable cheese”. This is the exact cheese you want, because it has a much higher melting point than most cheeses, and when you’re grilling, it won’t fall through your barbecue’s grates. Oh, and you’ll get those neat grill marks on the slices.
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One thing you should know is that halloumi cheese isn’t something you’ll want to eat right out of the package. The texture is a bit odd, and it has a rubbery taste. However, when you grill it (or pan-fry it), it comes alive.
The ingredients are simple, all you need is a package of cheese, and two tablespoons of olive oil. You’ll also want lemon wedges and fresh herbs to garnish with.
Start by preheating your grill to medium heat. Make sure it’s clean. Grab the cheese, and slice it into pieces that are half an inch thick. Then, grab each piece and lightly brush each side with the olive oil. Place the cheese on the heated grill, but make sure you don’t leave it for more than a few minutes on each side. Two to three minutes per side should suffice. You want it to be lightly browned and gently crisped, not over-grilled.
That’s about it – it’s rather simple but very tasty. You get a crispy outside, and a soft, gooey inside. You want to garnish with lemon wedges, or fresh herbs, and serve with grilled pita bread – the combination is brilliant. And the fact that it’s vegetarian makes it even better.
Mozzarella and Watermelon Salad
We know – mozzarella and watermelon might not seem like the first combination to come to mind. But if you’re after a quick and simple appetizer, it works wonders. You get an unexpected taste that’s both tangy and sweet. You get the watermelon’s crunchiness and the cheese’s softness. And then you have the basil to add a bit of spiciness that only herbs can add. The only downside is that it does require a bit of time to prepare – you’ll need about 15 minutes to prep everything, and an extra 30 minutes to cook.
The ingredients you want are two cups of balsamic vinegar, four cups of watermelon cubes, around an inch in size and without seeds, one pound of fresh mozzarella balls (small, if you can find them), two tablespoons of minced fresh basil, and seasoning.
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You start things off by getting a small pot, and bringing the balsamic vinegar to a boil. You want to reduce it to about half a cup, and get it to a syrup-like consistency. Then, set it aside and let it cool down. You can do this beforehand and refrigerate it, but in any case, you want it at room temperature. Or, you could look at an alternative homemade recipe which should also work.
Grab a large bowl, and toss the mozzarella, watermelon and basil together. Mix them up well. Once done, grab chilled plates, and put servings of the salad on each plate. Take the balsamic syrup you made earlier, and drizzle over the salad. Then, season with salt and pepper, and serve.
A tip to keep in mind if you can’t find small mozzarella balls is to get larger ones, and cut them into bite size pieces. Or, just buy a large piece of cheese and cut it into slices. You don’t have to toss everything in this case – just layer the cheese with the watermelon and the basil, and drizzle it with the balsamic syrup. Simple as that.